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Best Scenic Coastal Drives

There are plenty of scenic drives in the world, but as a beach lover the coastal drives are the best ones. Here`s a list of road trips along rugged coastlines with pristine beaches I`ve done myself and enjoyed to the fullest.

17-Mile Drive, California, USA

17-Mile Drive is a scenic road from Monterey to Carmel through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach in Northern California. One of the highlights along the way is the Lone Cypress, which is an icon you will see often in photographs. It makes quite the impression on you when standing in front of you, especially when it`s foggy and has something mystical about it. There`s also lots of wildlife sightings at the beaches, so make sure to make a few stops along the way.

Lone Cypress along 17 Mile Drive, California

Acadia National Park Loop Road, Maine, USA

Let`s move to the East Coast.  For 27 miles (44 kilometers) you`ll be treated to a drive through stunning Acadia National Park in Maine. Park Loop Road starts at Hulls Cove Visitor Center and offers access to Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, Jordan Pond, and Cadillac Mountain. Make sure to go up Cadillac Mountain for gorgeous views and if you`re there in the right season, I would suggest to go for a whale watch tour at Bar Harbor.

Acadia National Park
Florida`s Gulf Coast, USA
This is a bit of my own version of a coastal scenic drive, the road trip we made along Florida`s Gulf Coast from Pensacola to Fort Myers. We spent two weeks exploring the beaches of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico and hopping over to St Augustine on the East Coast. You can read more on all the stops en route here.
Siesta Beach

Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Leaving the US and crossing to the other side of the world for one of the most impressive coastal drives you`ll make: the Great Ocean Road. This scenic drive stretches along the coast for 151 miles (243 kilometers) from Torquay to Warrnambool with its most famous highlight the Twelve Apostles. Have a look at more photos of this amazing trip on my sister site Isabelle`s Travel Guide.

Great Ocean Road, Australia

Amalfi Drive, Italy

Another spectacular coastal trip you should add to your list is driving along the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The Amalfi Drive is the name of the road which runs from Sorrento and Amalfi in southern Italy. It`s might not be that far in distance between Sorrento and Amalfi, but don`t be fooled by that, because of the many hairpin turns and narrow roads it takes you some time to drive all the way. Make sure to allow enough time to take photos and visit villages along the way like Positano.

Positano, Italy

 What`s your favorite coastal drive?

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8 Responses to “Best Scenic Coastal Drives”

  1. Lise Griffiths August 20, 2013 9:49 pm #

    Beautiful pics! I love the Road to Hana on Maui Island, (Hawaii). It’s so beautiful and goes through bamboo forests, botanical gardens, past volcanic beaches, and with lots of stops at eden-like waterfalls… Also the roads in Corsica are something of a thing to try even if just for their sheer-drop drama and scare-factor!

    • Isabelle August 21, 2013 11:05 am #

      Hi Lise, I would love to visit Hawaii and your description makes it sound even more amazing. Not sure if I`m up for the roads in Corsica though 😉

  2. Gayla August 20, 2013 10:32 pm #

    I’ve seen parts of Maine’s coastline around Acadia and a good bit of Florida’s Gulf Coast (my favorite US beaches), but sure would love to make a journey along California’s 17 Mile Drive. Thanks for these pics to tide me over…

  3. Isabelle August 21, 2013 10:46 am #

    Thanks Gayla!

  4. Julia August 25, 2013 12:04 pm #

    My favorite coastal drive is definitely the Rio-Santos road, better from Santos to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), through small hills, really different beaches and villages, almost 500 km of beauty.

    • Isabelle August 25, 2013 4:33 pm #

      Thanks for the tip Julia!

  5. Andrea August 26, 2013 4:15 pm #

    Happy to say I’ve done three of these! I really enjoyed the coastal parts of the drive from San Francisco to Seattle…

    • Isabelle August 26, 2013 4:48 pm #

      That must have been wonderful to go all the way from SF to Seattle! I love taking road trips, but coastal drives are my favorite 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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